Ventilator alarms are devices designed to alert caregivers when a patient wearing a ventilator experiences any one of a number of different problems. A patient can require the use of a ventilator for treatment of a number of different serious health problems, including pneumonia, stroke, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, drug overdoses and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Hospitals and nursing homes that use modern wireless ventilator alarms can gain a number of benefits, when compared to organizations that use traditional ventilator alarm systems.
Ventilators carry air or oxygen-enriched air mixtures to the patient’s airways and lungs, and also carry depleted carbon dioxide-filled air out of the body. Parameters that can be adjusted on the typical ventilator include the rate of breaths sent to the patient; the amount of air/oxygen contained in each breath; the amount of pressure used to deliver air/oxygen to the patient’s lungs; and the amount of time it takes the ventilator to build up the required pressure. Ventilator alarms monitor all of these parameters and use a nurse call system to alert the appropriate personnel when problems arise.
An effective wireless system can improve the effectiveness of ventilator alarms in several different ways. First, a wireless nurse call system can broadcast critical information along with the alarm itself, including the name of the patient and the patient’s room number. In addition to nurses located in the appropriate nursing station, the emergency call goes out automatically to nurses or other personnel linked into the system wirelessly, through pagers or other preferred devices.
An effective emergency call system is also customizable in important ways. For instance, a small number of ventilator alarms go off temporarily when no actual emergency exists; over time, these false alarms can unnecessarily fatigue a hospital or nursing home staff. To reduce this fatigue and keep the staff at maximum alertness, high-quality wireless systems frequently include an adjustable timer that overcomes false alarms, by slightly delaying the transmission of a nurse call to staff members.
In addition to nurse call systems, broad-ranging wireless ventilator alarm products can incorporate a range of other important health- or safety-related features, including monitoring of IV pumps, smoke detectors, temperature changes within a facility, and the on/off status of vital equipment. In facilities with a high risk for patient elopement, or unmonitored discharge, an effective wireless system can also play a role in detecting motion within a room or area, or monitor the opening and closing of a facility’s interior or exterior doors.
Lastly, many wireless ventilator alarms operate on what’s known as a 300 MHz spectrum. While these alarms are effective, they have relatively small areas of broadcast. More modern alarm systems, which operate on an enhanced 900 MHz spectrum, provide as much as 10 times the area coverage as 300 MHz spectrum systems, and also provide better communication within the broadcast range. Modern ventilator alarm systems also have plenty of room for expandability and can accommodate as many as 300 individual wireless transmitters. Expanded versions of these systems can monitor as many as 65,000 individual hospital devices.